Eternity Playhouse
Eternity Playhouse
11:00 - 12:00
12:00 - 12:15
12:15 - 12:45
KEYNOTE: BEN VAN HOUTEN (San Francisco) Planning for Creativity – Policies to protect San Fran’s $6 billion nightlife

San Francisco’s Business Development Manager for the Nightlife and Entertainment Sector Ben Van Houten has achieved a lot in the time since this role was created in 2013. He’s managed a groundbreaking regional initiative to improve all-night transportation; developed legislation to create San Francisco’s first new full liquor licenses in over 70 years and he’s fostered compatibility between entertainment venues and residential developments including the passing of the ‘agent of change’ law in 2015 and the introduction of ’Good Neighbour Policy’. Despite these huge achievements, San Fran is still one of the least affordable cities in America and managing affordable space for residents and creatives is a huge challenge of the city.

In the opening keynote, Ben outlines how San Fran is tackling sound restrictions, affordable housing and creative space challenges. His keynote delivers learnings from the city’s journey in creating more harmony between nightlife businesses and residents; the crucial steps which led to the passing of legislation that supports the city’s nightlife, and what lies ahead to address San Fran’s housing and creative space crisis.


Ben Van Houten
Business Development Manager, Nightlife & Entertainment Sector - San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development
12:45 - 01:30
13:30 - 13:45
13:45 - 14:45

Following a 2018/2019 summer season which resulted in six drug-related deaths of festival patrons, Australia has not only tragically lost the lives of young music lovers, but has also found itself in a political stand-off in how best to approach drug education and harm minimisation.

Young people’s hunger for the music festival experience is not waning and in addressing health and safety at festivals, the NSW Government introduced a new festival licensing scheme focussing on 14 determined “higher risk” festivals. But the question remains – is this the approach that will ensure the safety of our young music lovers? While media, politicians, festival fans and stakeholders debate on pill testing as a possible solution, another hot summer festival season is just around the corner.

n this Hypothetical: ‘Drugs, Just Say Know’, health experts, police, festival figures, drug researchers, and parents are brought together to share and negotiate different perspectives and influence ways to move forward to address this important issue. We take this group through a hypothetical exercise to collectively work through a moral dilemma, to aid in navigating this challenge in the future.

Hypothetical: A Moral Dilemma at Global Cities After Dark is created by Helen Marcou AM, (Bakehouse Studios) Jessie French, ethicist Dr Emma Rush, (Charles Sturt University) and Dr Catherine Strong. (RMIT)

Adelle Robinson
Managing Director - Fuzzy Operations & Board Member and Spokesperson - Australian Festivals Association
Dr Caitlin Hughes
Associate Professor Flinders University, Visiting Fellow National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Vice-President International Society for the Study of Drug Policy - Flinders University
Mary Harrod
CEO - NSW Users and AIDS Association
Gary Christian
Research Director - Drug Free Australia
Gino Vumbaca
President - Harm Reduction Australia
Judith Noijen
Senior Prevention Worker - Jellinek
Mick Palmer
Retired Commissioner of Police
Will Tregoning
Founder and Executive Director, Unharm and The Loop Safety Testing
14:45 - 15:15
15:15 - 15:45
KEYNOTE: JUDITH NOIJEN (Amsterdam) Balancing Risk and Pleasure

For thirteen years Judith Noijen has been at the frontline of harm reduction in nightlife settings. At Jellinek, Judith has tirelessly promoted the role of health, education and science based policy and interventions in preventing nightlife related risks. Her remit includes managing the nightlife outreach program: ‘Unity’ and the management of the ‘Celebrate Safe’ platform which is a private and public network of event medical services, event security companies, clubs, music venues, event organisers, local and regional authorities and scientists working together to create a safer and healthy nightlife in the Netherlands.

In May 2019, Judith co curated the 11th edition of the Club Health Conference in Amsterdam which brought together experts from over 25 countries discussing nightlife, substance use and protecting and promoting health in nightlife settings. In Balancing Risk and Pleasure, Judith presents the findings from this conference, outlining the legacies and emerging trends in this field. The keynote will cover how the approaches differ between decades and countries – and at a domestic level, how these findings may be applied to local solutions.

Judith Noijen
Senior Prevention Worker - Jellinek
15:45 - 16:15

Most that step into House of Yes claim it’s like stepping into another world. An adult playground oozing with creativity, a night out at HOY involves transformative themed parties, neoburlesque performers, gender-bending clowns, drag queens, DJs of all flavors, and even a hot tub on the roof.

Going from an illegal, underground DIY community space to a legal venue over the course of 10 years, House of Yes internationally renowned as a magical theatre meets nightclub. Voted by Time Out in 2018 as the #2 Best Thing To Do In The World, House of Yes is also a powerful global brand known for elevating the culture of nightlife and pioneering several ‘safer spaces’ initiatives – most notably their Consent Program – that make their events more inclusive and fun for all.

In their keynote, House of Yes’ Co-Founder and Creative Director Kae Burke, along with Cultural Director and Manager of the Consent Program Jacqui Rabkin, take us through their journey in building authentic creativity in a global city that is not without its challenges. Join us as we dive deep into what has been in their secret recipe for going from a good business to a great business that has so much meaning in the community, and how they have combined different artistic mediums to tackle big ideas and big issues. From DIY to WTF will provide an inspiration to the local creative industries, encouraging new ways to look at approaching our businesses differently. Key learnings will be innovative ways to grow businesses from grassroots movements to businesses that are recognised nationally and internationally, and that provide enduring value to the local community.

Kae Burke
Co Founder/Creative Director, House of Yes
Jacqui Rabkin
Marketing & Cultural Director - House of Yes
16:15 - 17:45

This is a fast-paced and mentally challenging breakout session designed to create a paradigm shift. The Global Cities After Dark attendees are curated into teams of 4 to workshop solutions to challenges that are either being experienced right now or will pose a potential challenge in Sydney’s nightlife in the future. These challenges have been created following consultation with nightlife stakeholders, grass-roots communities, creatives and artists, government and peak bodies. Multiple teams will be assigned to each challenge to come up without of the box solutions to these real-life problems. We create a space to experiment with fresh ideas by hosting this organised chaos.

Following these breakouts, the team’s ideas will be presented in the theatre with a live poll to crowdsource which are the most unique, radical and strongest potential solutions. There are even some prizes for the winning solutions!


Critical mass: It’s a lockout-free Sydney – and the city has the freedom to rebuild Sydney’s nightlife without strict limitations. Over the past five years, the DIY/warehouse scene has risen and new in-home services such as Netflix and Uber Eats make a night-in at home much more appealing than it was five years ago. How do we harness the abundance of creativity in the DIY / warehouse and have it co-exist in licensed premises scene so it can re-engage young people and re-ignite their passion for regularly supporting Sydney’s nightlife?Challenge leader: Kiran Da Silva

Mobility: It’s 2021 and New South Wales is considering all-night public transport to increase mobility between Western Sydney and between the various inner-city nightlife precincts in Sydney. Safety as always is a concern with late night revellers – so what are the ways we can influence safety on public transport in the wee hours?
Challenge leader: Ben Van Houten

Intersectional nightlife offering: To truly create an inclusive and accessible nightlife offering it’s imperative we interrogate nightlife with an intersectional lens. While there is a small percentage of stakeholders within the Sydney nightlife economy who centre diversity and marginalised communities within their offerings, experiences of nightlife by marginalised peoples (First Nations, People of colour, LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds) in more mainstream spaces are still fraught with discrimination. How do we work collaboratively to decolonise nightlife and create actions that drive equity and intersectionality?
Challenge leader: Ayebatonye Abrakasa

The $ound of Mu$ic: We aim to have our nightlife thriving with good operators who run compliant businesses but the costs to do so over the last five years have significantly escalated and will continue to do so. How do we manage the expenses attached to regulation, compliance and music licenses without it being at the expense of creativity?
Challenge leader: To be announced

It’s not noise, it’s music: With increasing gentrification and urbanisation the matter of residents moving into city areas yet complaining about sound will be an even greater challenge in the future. What can be done to create harmony between residents and music venues?
Challenge leader: Mark Gerber

Redefining Culture: Good nightlife culture includes a variety of businesses working holistically to support each other. How do we create a more cohesive nightlife experience across the spectrum of retail, dining, bars, public spaces, cultural places and institutions, galleries, venues and nightclubs?
Challenge leader: Daria Grove

Safe from harm: Alcohol and drug-related incidents are the biggest levers of the restrictive regulation Sydney has experienced since 2014. Beyond pill testing, zero-tolerance and lockout laws, what are the patron focussed approaches we can adopt to influence personal accountability and promote safety for those in our nightlife?
Challenge leader: Judith Noijen

Mitigating Risk: Risk management is crucial to nightlife, but so is fun and freedom for magic to happen. How do we define risk in the night-time economy in 2019 and beyond, and mitigate it in a way that supports both safety and a flourishing nightlife?
Challenge leader: Libby Harris

Access and inclusion: Rightly so, there is a huge focus on accessibility and inclusion with many organisations championing initiatives and programs to increase the participation of people with a disability or those with access requirements are included in the cultural offering and night-time economy. If a business doesn’t have the funding to embark on accessibility training and workshops, what are the processes and ways to ensure patrons with a disability or special needs are welcomed and can enjoy their cultural offering?Challenge leader: To be announced

Good operators: Liquor licensing schemes are set to change to a more nuanced approach which offers flexibility in trading and license terms for “good operators”. How would we go about defining a good operator from a not so good one, and what would the differences in licensing restrictions between different types of licensed venues look like?
Challenge leader: To be announced

Ayebatonye Abrakasa
Founder/Creative Director - House of Ayebatonye presents
Ben Van Houten
Business Development Manager, Nightlife & Entertainment Sector - San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development
Daria Grove
Media and Communications Manager - Kensington Street
Judith Noijen
Senior Prevention Worker - Jellinek
Kiran De Silva
Booker/Marketing Manager/Head of Artist Logistics - Division Agency
Libby Harris
Night Time City Manager, City Business and Safety - City of Sydney
Mark Gerber
CEO/Founder/Licensee - Oxford Art Factory
17:45 - 19:00

Studio 54 in New York City, the underground, grungy rock and roll bars of Camden in London, and Parisian discoteques- the most exciting and diverse cities thrive on a vibrant and bustling music scene and when late night venues struggle and shut down, the liveliness of our streets and cities does too.

Direct from Hamburg, Professor Gesa Ziemer and Professor Prang workshop these ideas further with a case study on future nightlife areas in Sydney with the Music-City-Scope tool, which uses VR technology to show the interdependencies between music and the city. As technology improves, town planners have to think innovatively about the way we design and plan our cities. How can we use this data to further improve the cities we live in and create?

Professor Gesa Ziemer explains the CityScienceLab which investigates the urban challenges in the era of digitalisation. The CityScienceLab develops digital city models – called CityScopes – utilising comprehensive urban data to contribute to re-imaging and planning for future cities that are more livable and efficient. CityScopes help to visualise and stimulate complex urban development processes.

City Data Scientist Holger Prang leads the workshop developing a Music-CityScope for a future entertainment precinct in New South Wales. Working in four groups using the Music-City-Scope tool, we will create our own visions for future nightlife precincts. Closing the workshop will be a presentation of each group’s visions including qualitative and quantitative outcomes; data and maps of the potential future development scenarios. This workshop sees all Global Cities after Dark contributing to a potential blueprint of our city’s future nightlife precincts!

Gesa Ziemer
Professor of Cultural Theory and Cultural Practice, Vice President Research - HafenCity University of Hamburg
Holger Prang
City Data Scientist - HafenCity University of Hamburg
19:15 - 19:30

Marking the closing of the Global Cities After Dark 2019 forum, Mirik and Jane summarise key findings and outtakes from the day.

Mirik Milan
Co Founder - VibeLab
19:30 - 21:00

An optional extra for those that wish to keep the connection and conversation going over dinner at Harpoon Harry’s. Harry’s is known for its absolutely brilliant music selection in combination with marvelous burgers. A combination nightlife enthusiasts can’t miss while visiting Sydney. For an additional cost, refuel with us before our closing event. (Veggie options available)

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